To begin with, this was my first time on a big stage in front of such a large number of crowd. Though always interested in Public Speaking, I was too shy and timid to take that plunge. And why did I take that step this time?
You’ll get to know about that in the video. *wink* *wink*
In this post, I’ll walk you through how I spent my time preparing for the Finals.
4 Days Before The Final
I was still not sure whether to use the same speech which I used in the semi final or go with a new one. Since I was running out of time I decided to go with the previous speech. So I typed the draft and got a printout and started my practice.
My goal was to get at least 75 rehearsals because Confidence is preparation and I needed to give my best for the final on Sunday. On Wednesday, I did 2 rehearsals and on Thursday the same number. All of them going over the deadline of 7 minutes and 30 seconds. Friday I had 7 rehearsals which were very close to the deadline. And my confidence, it started to wane.
So what do we all do when we are in need?
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
I did just that.
A Day Before The Final
I asked my closest friend to help me out with the speech, listen to me and make me better. She gladly accepted. On Saturday, I went to her home which had an empty warehouse and we began our practice there. From 2 in the afternoon till 7 in the evening I gave as many rehearsals as possible. Swathi with her suggestions, helped me improve my modulation, stage presence and aggression.
By evening, I was tired and just before going I went for one last try and it was the worst rehearsal of the day and my confidence, it hit rock bottom. Back to the start!!
I had to go home without any more practice as it was getting late. All throughout the journey back home I kept doubting myself. After reaching home my parents suggested me to get a good nights sleep and practice early in the morning.
The Morning of The Final
I got 7 hours of sleep that night and it worked wonders. My mind was very fresh and rejuvenated. I went to the terrace and my first rehearsal for the day went very well followed by the other rehearsals. Confidence back on track!!
I reached the event venue at 8:45 and the competition was about to start at 10:45 sharp. For the next 40 mins, the contest chair briefed us on the rules and regulations. All the 10 finalists were interviewed by the District Newsletter spokesperson and we also had to fill a couple of forms.
The Last Hour Before The Final
After the formalities all the finalists went out of the auditorium to practice for the speech and it was a blessing in disguise for me. I went on stage and made myself comfortable on it. For almost 10 minutes I walked around the stage, did a couple of hand and calf stretches, walked myself through the speech and made eye contact with the small number of audience who were already seated. The questioning stares, I got myself habituated to those in those 10 minutes.
I also checked my collar mike and its position so that my voice intensity is just right. Then I went to a secluded spot and gave my final 3 rehearsals. All of them went well.
Then to get into the zone I listened to some pumping songs mostly from Eminem and also from Hindi movies like Chak De India, Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and one from MS Dhoni.
After the finalists were declared two weeks before, I went through their facebook profiles. Got intimidated. One was a stand up comedian and another an entrepreneur and two were from Bhavans – one of the best colleges in the city.
So what did I do when the last few moments creep me out?
Since I was the 3rd contestant I had 15 minutes of time before I went on stage and I made full use of it. I took out my notebook and wrote positive affirmations for myself. Not thinking about the competition and just focusing to give my best for those 7 minutes.
I also practiced the 4-4-4 breathing where I inhaled for 4 seconds, held my breath for 4 seconds and then exhaled for 4 seconds.
Just before my name was to be called, I had a minute to get ready with mike. I went to the sergeant at arms who would help me with the mike and at the back of the stage did a couple of wall pushups, calf stretches and jumped around to get rid of my nervousness. It works wonders. I felt very little nervousness when I went on stage and gave a very fulfilling performance.
After The Speech
There were 7 more contestants after me and each of them amazing!! I was worried naturally. So I took the notebook again and tried to grasp the message of what the speakers were trying to say. Jotting down points and also meanwhile reminding myself that I gave my best and results were not in my hand. That kept me calm throughout.
Two questions that bother me a lot
- What made me win the 2nd place?
- What made me lose the 1st?
Though I have a couple of answers myself, I want you to give your honest opinion on it. Feel free to leave them out in the comments below or you can message me on Facebook. I would be very glad to hear them and I thank you in advance for your little contribution.